El Caballero / Lady Wild '99 - The Rattlesnakes
BRP Records 015
  

There was a time when Russia was one of the world's super powers, a nation which borders were spanning a good part of the Northern hemisphere and a dark realm full of secrecy. It is said that the governement even controlled the kind of music citizens were allowed to listen to. Than there were Reagan, Gorbatsjev, Glasnost and Perestroika and things changed. And now, from Russia, with love: The Rattlesnakes! This platter was on my desk for quite a while before I started listening to it, but I'm glad I finally did. This is Rock and Roll as pure and wild as can be.

The album is a double CD: on the first one there's a reissue of two early Rattlesnake albums, "El Caballero" and "Lady Wild '99". The titlesong "El Caballero" takes off in surf mode and beachtalk by two dudes. Immediatly followed by a vibrating cowboysurf diddy mixed with, what is without a doubt, some most attractive genuine russian influences. After a short intermezzo by the beachdudes again ( surf's up in the background sounds) Tornado continues in the same routine. Next song is a catchy jazz song, sprangled with guitars drowning in a moody tape echo and accompanied by a double bass strut. Some nice arrangement surprises in this song and super vocals. "Another Time" is the name of this little jewel. There's the dudes again and than surf's up in "Heaven of Spain". Yes, a thematic album, and it's not too hard to guess what the theme is.The rest of the songs are equally strong, and a real pleasure to listen to. El Caballero is a great album with suberb guitar riffs and a sunny overall impression.

But there's more on this CD: the second release of the Rattlesnakes, "Lady Wild '99" starts at track 11. Title song "Lady Wild" hits off with a neo-rockabilly beat and an uptempo drive. "She Curses" a very danceable rocker, with a pushing guitar and bass tandem that makes you wanna pogo, ready or not. Neo-Rockabilly again in "Wild One" and something of a kozac choir mixed in makes this a catchy mix of rockabilly and soviet roots music. Super! Did I mention the great recording quality? Plug in your headphones and enjoy this album as it's meant to be. Next one is a ballad, so I skip to the next song. Yes, uptempo again! "I Know..." fuses rockabilly with an alternative chordprogression and a modern beat, again a great find of these guys. Queen of the Night could be a title song of a Tarantino cult horror movie. Haunting, quivers and goosebumps best describe this song. Another jewel. Than it's "Time to Wake Up" another fusionbilly song with the best elements of several genres. This is a very adventurous album and if you are open for this you will love this album, just like I do!

The second CD, it's double package, showcases the bands live performances. The listed songs are smash hits for the better part, so it's time to sharpen my nails ;-) The opening song is the Jodimars'"Everybody Dances the Bop" Great tune, and good interpretation. In fact it swings like hell! Setzer's "wasn't that Good" is hard to cover song, but the Rattlesnakes do it very well. Two leadguitar players make this a pleasure to listen to, and no doubt, also to dance to. "Sweet Sue (just you) is next in the setlist and starts out with a fingerlicking guitar intro. I notice the same genre twists here which the band seems to have made to their trademark. Dave Gonzales-like guitars, mixed with some skiffle and rock.

Next one is Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive an'Wail" in the Setzer version. The instrumental Sovtransavto Express is an adaption of classic song by Soloviev-Sedoy. Followed by one of the most energetic versions of Mean Woman Blues I ever heard! Eddie Cochran's Sweetie Pie gets the Rattlesnakes treatment and I really admire this arrangement with modern beat and with yodel yells.

Somewhere over the Rainbow clearly bears Gene Vincent's imprints but also the Rattlesnakes own stamp. Rawhide is a very hard song to perform live and still play it as tight as the Rattlesnakes do it. Once more my admiration for their guitarslinger grows a few points. Matchbox' Stranger in Nevada creates the so much appreciated instrumental break. Then comes a great bluesy intro for Johnny Kidds'"please Don't Touch" a perfect balad intro, but then hell breaks loose, Please don't touch, motherfucker! Shakin with a little wink, well, if you can get your hands on this CD, don't hesitate and grab it, this piece is a must have for every collector and rock and roll lover.

The following little snippet I borrowed from a Russian website about The Rattlesnakes:

<snip>
The Rattlesnakes were formed back in 1995. But for these musicians it was not their first experience in Rock and Roll. Singer - Yuriy Sutkovoy was playing in a psychobilly band called The Attrackars in the period of 1991-1994. Alexander Kornazov and Oleg Hoodkin were playing in one of the first rockabilly bands of St.Petersburg, The Sunstrokers. They and Yuriy had some new ideas. That's what attracted the former heavy-alternative drummer - Alexei Gubin to join the Rattlesnakes. Then the band started to perform at the clubs of St.Petersburg and Moscow. At first the guys played mostly covers of the oldschool rockabilly and neorockabilly bands. But then Yuriy started to write his own music and invited Ilya "The Bear" Titov to write the lyrics for the songs and also to be the manager of the group. During the next years the band has been playing a lot of live concerts and recorded two studio albums: El Caballero and Lady Wild '99
</snip>

Well, there's more good news, The Rattlesnakes will perform on the 2nd Czech Rumble, 29 & 30 July 2005. So if you're in the neighborhood, come and see them!

The Rattlesnakes are:
Yuriy Sutkovoy - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Alexander Kornazov - Double Bass
Oleg Hoodkin - Rhythm Guitar
Alexei Gubin - Drums

Contact information:
rattlesnakes@rockabilly.ru 
http://www.rattlesnakes.surfmusic.ru/ 
http://www.rockabilly.ru/bands/rattlesnakes/

Reviewed by Uncle_B, 2005



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